Triton Wet and Dry Sharpener Revisited

As mentioned, I had an opportunity to try out a few Tormek jigs on the Triton Sharpener the other night, and was very impressed.

First things first – one point-of-view is that it is the Tormek jigs making the Triton look good and I have no problem with that.  Whether you’ve forked out a couple hundred for the Triton, or a grand or so for the Tormek, in either case, you still need the jigs.  I hope Triton do bring out some other jigs, at a much lower price point than the current available (non Triton) jigs, but if they do, they need to retain the quality and accuracy of these jigs.

So onto my experiences.

I started by testing how accurate the Triton Sharpener was.  I did this with a Wixey Digital Angle Gauge.

Now this may or may not sound like spin, but I have only just received my Wixey Gauge, provided by Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  They have also provided some other tools that will be seen in the near future in a podcast near you, but in the meantime, I had this gauge and it occurred to me that it would be the absolute perfect tool to test the accuracy of my Sharpener.  What I have been concerned with, and wanted to test, was how accurate (ie parallel) the support arm (that carries the jigs) is to the body of the Sharpener, and specifically the shaft that carries the grinding wheel.

I wasn’t expecting much.  Boy, was I surprised.  After zeroing the gauge off the tool, I tested the support arm. 0.1 degrees deviation.  I can SO live with that!!  So not only am I pleased with the accuracy of the Triton Sharpener, this Wixey Digital Angle Gauge has already proved its value – I really don’t know how I would have otherwise have done this test this easily (it took seconds literally).  I am definitely looking forward to finding out other applications for this, and a few are coming to mind as I type.  Setting the table on the bandsaw and drillpress to specific angles (zeroing off the blade, or bit as applicable, then placing it on the table to set the angle.)  Also, if setting an angle on the jointer/planer fence, this will make life very easy.  Even proving the in and outfeed tables are coplanar, etc etc etc.  This tool is going to become invaluable in my shop, and that is no spin intended!

Anyway, back to the Sharpener.  Happy that the support arm was accurate, I then took the Tormek diamond dresser, and dressed the grinding wheel, so that the surface of the wheel was parallel with the support arm.  The wheel is quite soft, so this wasn’t too difficult.  I can see the benefit of the new Tormek dresser, where you actually wind the dresser across the surface, so can be done in a very even, smooth pass, but in this case I was using the manual version.

To actually try out the unit, I decided to do one of my spindle gouges (a lathe chisel in basic terms).  It had been badly abused by me not being able to sharpen properly in the past on a standard grinder, and was not symmetrical, and had almost become a fingernail gouge.  Set it up in the Tormek gouge jig, and off I went.  Took about 10 minutes or so till I finally had a tool that was back to being sharp, and the right shape.  Because of the jig, I was assured an accurate result, and because of the slow, watercooled wheel, there was no burning of the steel, and I didn’t remove any more steel than was necessary.  Sure, ‘real’ woodturners would (rightfully) scoff at all this, but I haven’t the time to gain the experience to do this the quick and nasty way, as my previous efforts had proven.  Now it is back to being the right shape, it will be much, much easier to maintain.

I then turned to the buffing wheel.  In no time at all, I had a mirror finish that this tool has never seen.  It almost looked wrong – turning tools are not meant to be mirror sharp!  I haven’t had a chance to actually try it out, but I am sure looking forward to getting my other planes and chisels to the same point (sic).

So in summary, with the right jig, and a dressed wheel, the Triton Sharpener can definitely deliver the goods.  If I wasn’t impressed before (I knew it had potential, but didn’t have the confidence in the accuracy until I tested it with the Wixey) I certainly am now.

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